Sheryl has been a nurse for 20 years, 16 of which have been spent at OHSU. She has served as a charge nurse, preceptor, diabetic champion, and has worked with IV therapy/vascular access. As a certified pediatric emergency nurse, she has represented the peds department well in operational meetings and CQI. Sheryl is also a family representative for the state with EMSC (Emergency Medical Services for Children) and is on the board for Donate Life NW.
The ED environment is not for everyone. Nobody wakes up in the morning and decides they want to have an emergency that day. We often see people at their worst. We see lives altered, families changed and torn apart, but we also see joy, hope, commitment, and deep compassion. During these stressful times, Sheryl Williams embodies the traits necessary to deliver the highest level of care. As an experienced ED nurse, an IV therapist, and a mother of a child with a chronic medical condition, she is the whole package. Sheryl is able to see a patient’s experience from many perspectives. Sheryl has cried with parents, set limits with teens, supported her peers, taught the residents about humility and humanity, and never stops advocating for her patients.
A parent recently wrote in about their experience following an emotional visit with their teen. “It was the hardest thing we ever had to do. To admit you need help with your teen for behavioral issues, drive to an emergency room and wait among the sick kids hoping someone has some answers. Sheryl was our rock. When we needed the medical jargon translated, she was there. When we needed boundaries set, she was there. When we needed to go in the next room and cry and feel sorry for ourselves, Sheryl was there. Finally, when we were declared safe to go home four days later with a plan in place, Sheryl was there to walk us to the door and give us hugs. It was like leaving a family member”.
It is not uncommon for Sheryl’s peers to say, “if I ever find myself in the situation of having to be here with my child, I hope Sheryl is working”. As her manager, when I see Sheryl in action, I am immediately reminded of a quote by Samuel Taylor Coleridge who said, “what comes from the heart, goes to the heart”.